Chairman Pai Revokes Midnight Regulations from Last Administration

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by

On February 3, 2017, Chairman Pai revoked a number of controversial regulations, orders and reports released by the FCC’s Bureaus and Offices in the waning days of the last Administration, noting that in some cases Commissioners were given no advance notice of the regulations. In others, two of the four then sitting Commissioners objected to the item, and in all cases, the new orders or reports were issued contrary to Congressional oversight committee directives.

We covered one of these items – the Media Bureau’s RUFRN action – in an article above. That item will eventually come before the entire Commission. A similar Media Bureau action was rescinded related to complaints against stations for apparent compliance failures of public inspection file requirements for certain advertisements on issues of public importance. In early January, 2017, the Bureau had issued an order providing further guidance on the requirements and sanctioning some stations. In rescinding that earlier order, the Bureau stated that the matters “are more appropriately addressed at the Commission level.”

Finally, the Media Bureau also immediately rescinded published 2014 guidance related to the Bureau’s processing of broadcast television applications proposing sharing arrangements, which had attributed such arrangements under the FCC’s ownership rules.